Posted on 03/10/2022

What to know about umbilical cord injury lawsuits

What to know about umbilical cord injury lawsuits

If you or your baby has suffered an umbilical cord birth injury, then file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your medical provider and the hospital they were providing care under.

There’s a lot to understand, and we’ll start with the basics — like why the umbilical cord is so important and some of the most common risks associated with umbilical cord injuries. 

By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll know how to file an umbilical cord birth injury lawsuit and how to receive a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. 

Let’s dive right in to get you the compensation you deserve.

Umbilical cord basics

The umbilical cord is essential during pregnancy as it serves as the main connection, or lifeline, between the mother and the baby. It provides your baby with nutrients and oxygen, while simultaneously exporting waste and toxins. 

The umbilical cord begins to form at the beginning of pregnancy, when the egg is fertilized. 

When this happens, one part of the egg becomes the embryo that forms into a fetus, and the other part of the egg becomes the placenta.

After about the fifth week from conception, the umbilical cord begins to form. The cord is composed of three main vessels: two paired umbilical arteries and one umbilical vein. 

The umbilical vein’s main function is to carry oxygenated blood to the fetus and the umbilical arteries carry deoxygenated blood away from the fetus. 

The cord grows longer as the fetus begins to develop and can reach up to 24 inches long. 

The cord is absolutely vital because it serves as a link between the fetus and the mother’s uterine wall and placenta, while also being the vehicle for circulation of nutrients and oxygen.

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Most common umbilical cord problems

There are many different types of umbilical cord problems and injuries. All of which could be considered a result of medical malpractice, depending on your situation. 

Cord too long, or too short 

If your umbilical cord is too long, or too short, then your newborn is at risk for cord prolapse, knots, or a difficult labor. 

This can lead to further birth injuries as well, such as brain damage, developmental delays and still-birth.

Improper connection to placenta or uterine wall 

If the umbilical cord is not properly connected to the mother’s placenta or uterine wall, then they may not develop properly. They are also at risk for further health complications, such as Velamentous Cord Insertion.


Knots in the umbilical cord can be formed either during pregnancy or during birth. So long as the knots remain loose, they are fairly harmless. However, if the knots become tight and constricted, then they are cutting off the newborn’s oxygen supply.

A single umbilical artery 

This is when only one of the umbilical arteries develop, instead of two. If this is the case, then your newborn is at risk for developing heart, central nervous system and urinary defects, along with chromosomal abnormalities.

Umbilical cord prolapse 

Umbilical cord prolapse affects about 1 in 300 newborns. This occurs when the cord is displaced in the mother’s vagina after the water breaks and before the baby begins to travel through the birth canal. 

It can lead to a still-birth pregnancy if the delivery does not happen soon enough. 

Vasa Previa 

This is typically diagnosed during labor and tragically, more than half of affected babies born with this condition are stillborn. 

Vasa previa occurs when blood vessels from the umbilical cord cross the mother’s cervix causing bleeding in the baby and pressure on the blood vessels.

Nuchal Cord 

Nuchal cord is when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the newborn’s neck. 

Although this is typically harmless, there are certain procedures and protocols in place to make sure the baby is delivered efficiently and with minimal harm.

Umbilical cord cysts

There are two types of cysts in the umbilical cord, true cysts and pseudocysts (false cysts). 

True cysts are lined with cells and typically contain leftover embryonic structures. False cysts are fluid-filled sacs. Both types of cysts can lead to kidney and abdominal health conditions.

Any injury to the umbilical cord can cause lifelong health complications. 

Damages awarded for an umbilical cord injury

If you or your child has suffered an umbilical cord birth injury due to negligence, or malpractice, then reach out to an attorney to get started on your case.

If your medical provider, or the hospital they were providing care under, are found legally responsible in your umbilical cord birth injury lawsuit, then you will be awarded for damages.

‘Damages’ are the economic and noneconomic expenses incurred from an injury. Damages can include, but are not limited to:

  • Treatment or therapy 
  • Prescriptions
  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional pain and suffering
  • Permanent impairment or loss

When umbilical cord accidents support birth injury claims

To prove medical malpractice, your attorney will need to prove that you were 

  1. Under direct care of the physician or hospital
  2. The medical provider or hospital did not provide the standard level of care thus you or your baby sustained an injury
  3. You incurred expenses due to the injury

There are many ways medical providers can prevent umbilical cord birth injuries, such as 

  • Ordering ultrasounds and tests to confirm a diagnosis
  • Carefully and thoroughly examining ultrasounds and lab work
  • Promptly performing procedures and techniques during labor in an attempt to minimize the possibility of a traumatic or difficult birth
  • Taking into account past medical histories of both parents and past experiences in labor

Grover Lewis Johnson can help with your medical malpractice case

If you believe your medical provider was negligent, or performed malpractice and you or your baby has suffered an injury at their expense, then call an experienced medical malpractice attorney to begin your lawsuit.

You want to hire someone who is trustworthy, experienced and will follow through with what they promise. 

The medical malpractice attorneys at Grover Lewis Johnson have been providing their legal assistance for the last 25 years.

We know what it takes to win and can ensure we will fight for you every step of the way.

We want to help you get the proper compensation you deserve. 

Call us right away.